DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Bernice Loui, 100, talked yesterday about her son Norman, who donated $3.4 million to Honolulu Community College -- the largest private gift to benefit a Hawaii community college.
Donor leaves $3.4M to HCC
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A former carpentry student and electronics technician gave $3.4 million to Honolulu Community College, his alma mater.
The University of Hawaii Foundation calls the gift from the Norman Loui Estate "historic," the largest private donation ever to a Hawaii community college.
Loui, co-founder of Hawaiian Rent-All, graduated from what was then Honolulu Technical School in 1961 with a carpentry degree.
When Loui died last year, he left much of his fortune to Honolulu Community College.
The money will provide scholarships and buy tools for needy students in the construction trades; fund innovation and technology projects; and provide workshops and education for local boaters.
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When Norman Loui attended Honolulu Community College, then known as Honolulu Technical School, he noticed that many classmates had trouble buying tools needed to graduate with a carpentry degree and even with paying tuition.
"He said he's going to help them. He said he wants to help those students," said his mother, Bernice Loui, 100.
Before he died last year, Norman Loui, who co-founded Hawaiian Rent-All with his brother Gordon, decided to leave $3.4 million to Honolulu Community College. It is the largest private gift to benefit a community college here, the University of Hawaii Foundation said in a news release.
"It's an extraordinary gift," said Donna Vuchinich, UH Foundation president. "This will really make a difference."
Honolulu Community College will recognize the donation Saturday by renaming the Kapalama Media Conference Center the Norman W.H. Loui Conference Center at a dedication ceremony.
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOUNDATION
Norman Loui is shown during his 1961 graduation from Honolulu Technical.
Loui won a carpentry prize while attending Roosevelt High School, which inspired him to take up carpentry at Honolulu Technical School, where he graduated in 1961.
After finishing his education and working in Chicago, Loui returned to Hawaii to help start up United Rent-All, which became Hawaiian Rent-All, Honolulu's largest equipment rental company. The company, at the corner of Beretania and McCully streets, is known for its clever, catchy message board, which can be seen by passing motorists.
Loui, a bachelor who had no children, began talking to Honolulu Community College and the UH Foundation about giving his money to his alma mater a couple of years ago, said Ramsey Pedersen, HCC chancellor.
"He was impressed with the strides the college had taken over the years and the service to the community," Pedersen said. "He just wanted to help keep supporting that."
Loui also might have been following in a family tradition of giving to public higher education. His mother, Bernice, is a major supporter of the University of Hawaii. She endowed a computer laboratory at the School of Travel Industry Management in honor of her late husband, Leong Hop. The family helped start Tradewind Tours and International Travel Service after World War II when Leong Hop left his job as a sports editor at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Bernice Loui also helped fund the creation of a student exchange program between the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and schools in China. She has also donated to the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, the John A. Burns School of Medicine, Kapiolani Community College's culinary education program and the Char Asian-Pacific Study Room at KCC.
The UH Foundation is in the midst of a fundraising drive to mark the UH Centennial. So far, the school has raised $195 million toward a goal of $250 million.
The Norman Loui Estate Gift
The $3.4 million gift is divided into three endowments that will generate about $170,000 a year:
» $1.4 million for the "Tools of the Trade" scholarship fund. The money will go toward tuition and buying tools for needy students studying construction trades.
» $1 million for a student and faculty innovation fund for carpentry. The money will be used for projects using innovative technology or construction techniques.
» $1 million for community boating and marine education programs. The money will help support the local boating industry and help boat owners with workshops and training on safety and proper maintenance through the Marine Education and Training Center.
Sources: Ramsey Pedersen, Honolulu Community College chancellor; UH Foundation